July 17 (Bloomberg) -- Jordan Spieth played his first practice round at the British Open in the same trousers he wore in making the field for golf’s oldest major championship.
The 19-year-old earned the last place in the Open by winning the U.S. PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic in a playoff three days ago. He was the first teenager to win a Tour event in 82 years.
The victory earned Spieth $828,000 and a two-year Tour exemption, along with little time to prepare his wardrobe. He boarded an overnight flight from Illinois to Scotland that arrived two days ago and was on the Muirfield course yesterday.
“I only packed for one week,” he told reporters. “These are the pants I wore Sunday, haven’t been washed.”
Spieth, the 2009 and 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, turned professional in December and has had six top-10 finishes this season. The Dallas native said he’s more used to watching the Open than being with the world’s top golfers as they battle the British weather in pursuit of a major title.
“This is the tournament that I watch every year,” he said. “It’s really cool to watch, when you wake up in the morning and see guys in the afternoon and you see it’s miserable for them, and you’re sitting on the couch.”
A three-time Texas state high school champion, Spieth helped the University of Texas capture the National Collegiate Athletic Association title as a freshman in 2012. He then finished as low amateur at the 2012 U.S. Open, tying for 21st place, before turning professional later that year.
Spieth’s victory last weekend caught the eye of at least one of his fellow competitors this week in Scotland.
“I love his game, I love everything about it,” four-time major winner Phil Mickelson told reporters yesterday. “It’s not about pretty. It’s not about making the most perfect swing. It’s about hitting shots. And that’s what he did under pressure. I love and respect that.”
Spieth said the whirlwind that’s surrounded him since his victory won’t stop him from enjoying the experience at Muirfield.
“I don’t know a whole lot,” he said of the course. “I don’t really have Internet. Not a whole lot I can do. I’m just kind of free-swinging, feeling really good from last week and just trying to keep that going.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch at Muirfield through the London sports desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Elser at email@example.com.